What is Considered Discrimination Based on Medical Condition?

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: September 28, 2020

Some employers have biased ideas about an individual’s ability based on stereotypes or fears about certain medical conditions. These biases and fears not only undermine certain individuals and their full capabilities, they are also discriminatory. In Los Angeles, disability discrimination laws protect employees from such discriminatory practices.

Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), employers are prohibited from discriminating against an individual based on a medical condition. Other anti-discriminatory laws such as the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) further protect individuals from employment discrimination based on a medical condition, physical disability, or mental disability.

Physical and Mental Disabilities  

California law defines disability as a medical condition that limits an employee’s ability to fulfill his or her essential job functions. Generally, disability falls into two main categories: physical disability and mental disabilities.

Physical disability includes but is not limited to having a physiological disease, cosmetic disfigurement, or an anatomical loss. The condition affects one or more body systems (such as neurological, musculoskeletal, immunological, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, genitourinary, digestive, or circulatory) and limits a major life activity.

Permanent or temporary physical conditions can also be considered physical disabilities. Examples include pregnancy, childbirth, impaired eyesight, impaired speech, impaired hearing, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, or chronic diseases.

Mental or psychological disabilities are defined as a mental or phycological disorder that limits a major life activity. Mental disabilities include but are not limited to clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, specific learning disabilities, and intellectual disabilities.

Laws also protect perceived medical conditions or disabilities. For example, an employee with a certain medical condition may not have an impairment typically associated with that condition. If an employer wrongly assumed the employee is impaired, the employer may be at fault for medical condition discrimination.

Following regulations, an employer must initiate a discussion with the employee regarding reasonable accommodation when learning of his or her medical condition. Reasonable accommodations are adjustments made to allow an employee to continue to perform his or her essential job functions. Examples of reasonable accommodation include a modified work schedule, job restructuring, modifying an employer policy, providing additional training, or allowing an employee to work from home.

Additionally, all medical information must be kept confidential.

Examples of Medical Condition Discrimination

Medical condition discrimination is prohibited during any part of the employment process. In addition to hiring, employers cannot refuse to provide reasonable accommodation, refuse pay, deny benefits, deny promotions, deny training opportunities, denying reinstatement, or harass you.

Another example of medical condition discrimination is forcing an employee to quit his or her job based on a medical disability.

Contact a Medical Condition Discrimination Attorney Today

California employees deserve to work in an environment free from discrimination. If you’ve experienced any kind of medical condition discrimination at work, you have the right to file a claim against those at fault. Our Los Angeles disability discrimination attorneys have over two decades of experience fighting for employee rights and can help get you the justice you deserve. Contact Mesriani Law Group today to speak with an attorney about your potential case.